Late Monday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) released a secret recording of Pfc. Bradley Manning's prepared testimony before a military court on February 28, in Fort Meade, Md. Manning has been held without trial, mostly in solitary confinement, by the U.S. military since 2010 for his role in turning over classified video and documents to Wikileaks. In the recording, Manning is heard for the first time personally admitting to releasing the notorious "Collateral Murder" video, as well as explaining his reason for doing so, stating:I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables, this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general, as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.Manning went on to describe how he was troubled by what he saw: The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team—they appeared to have. They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as, quote, "dead bastards," unquote, and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in a large—in large numbers. At one point in the video, there’s an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.While saddened by the aerial weapons team’s true lack—crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response, the aerial weapons team crew assumes the individuals are a threat. They repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck, and once granted, they engage the vehicle at least six times.The audio of Manning's 1 hour and 8 minute statement can be found here, in its entirety.
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